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Textile Library


The CEDF/IRIDAT, with its wealth of important collections gathered over more than 30 years, has decided, with the European Social Fund's help, to set up a Resources Centre for the benefit of lacemakers, researchers, curators, collectors and librarians.

Today the tissuthèque (textile library), in continual development, includes 4.350 large pieces or specimens of hand-made lace: needle-point, pillow and machine-made, handmade and manufactured embroideries, netting, tulle netting, tatting, weaving, crochet, knitting, passementerie trimmings, French and foreign, and old or contemporary. Also included are table linen, house linen, curtains, tablecloths, doilies, handkerchieves, shawls, stoles, collars, mantlets, gloves, lingerie, and dresses.

The contents of the tissuthèque (textile library) come from France, Europe, Africa, the Orient, the Far-East and the Americas. They date from across four centuries.

Soon, specimens will be photographed and explanations about their origin, technique, style and dating provided.

Consultation  on the spot and by appointment in 2008


It is into 1852 that Virginia Vrancken, in religion Sœur Marie Joseph, superior of Sisters of Notre-Dame of the Visitation of Gand, invents a new technique to make Valencians lace which is the same technique of the brought back parts. So she deposits the patent for fifteen years. During a few years, the production is done exclusively in the orphanages. 

When the protection of this invention stops, many Belgian manufacturers will adapt this process who consists in making separately sheets, flowers, small branches, large bouquets and architectural reasons. The network Valencian, carried out after the decoration was realized, clings, by picking, with the reasons already finished and installed on the trade at the places determined by the drawing. A "lace contour "highlights certain reasons. The network is composed of square stitch whose point is directed towards the edge. It is made with four bobbins braided five or six times on each side of the square (more the wire is fine more there are braidings). At the junction of a new mesh, the crossing of two braids of four bobbins is done by that of two bobbins taken in each braid.

This new way, faster, to make lace allowed a greater freedom of creation with a richer and more important drawing, the use of a large variety of stitchs, the production of high wheels and finally an appreciable saving of time. It was also possible to make work several lacemakers at the same time if they had “the same hand”. Most famous Valencians with varied networks was that offered to Marie-Henriette Queen at the time of her marriage and exposed within a meeting organized in the rooms of the Bank Brussels Lambert in Brussels in 1990 whose topic was “Belgian Royal Laces”. The Valencians with varied networks that we present on our site offers of very many similarities with that exposed in Brussels and let's think that it comes from the same convent, the same time and the same hands!.

Valencian of Gand
Valencian of Gand

VALENCIAN OF YPRES (Valencian of Brabant)

In 1833, Duhayon-Brunfaut, lacemaker in Ypres, discovers the technique of giving specific gravity and forms in toilé, closed part or half stitch, while keeping in network the smoothness and the transparence. Threads are added in the course of job to accomplish the modelling of flowers, leaves or branches were made in toilé. Threads , not serving in network, are left in wait, shorts above the bottom. They will be reused, by integrating according to the ready-to-wear clothes of the lace with the following fleurages. When the lace is ended, the floating sons are cut. This technique wins a significant time for the manufacture of the lace and reduce its price. Success was immediate and they find on the market of marvellous Valencian of Ypres with precise, various and gratifying drawings in the eye.


Bobbin lace is established in the town of Valencians at the end of XVIth century. In second half of XVIIth century, Francoise Badar renovates lace art by giving him a fantastic rise. From 1730 to 1740, a new mesh is invented. She will become famous and be the point characteristic of the city by taking his name and by preserving it where that she is manufactured.
The square mesh, the point, directed towards the edge of lace, is consisted braids of four bobbin.
This lace at continuous wire, without any addition of wire, is characterized by one toilé or closed part without any wire from setting nor another point.

True valencian or eternal
True valencian or eternal


Lace at continuous wire.
In 1582, the corporation of the lacemakers of Lille is represented at the time of the entry of the Duke of Anjou (future Henri III) in the city. In 1723, at the time of the marriage of the Duke of Boufflers with Miss de Villeroi, the magistrates of the city offer to them four thousand lace books of Lille. In 1789, the statistics of North announce that there are 14.000 lacemakers who make 120.000 laces. It is at time that is the apogee of this lace.
The Lille bottom, also called clear bottom or simple bottom, is composed of a network with two wire, whose crossings are supported by a pin. The meshs are hexagonal and two sides are perpendicular to the edge. In theory laces of Lille are narrow but when they have a certain height, a light flowered decoration appears, always crimped of a cordonnet. The Lille bottom often carries one sown of square tally spot or flowers.
This lace initially made out of lin wire, will be made thereafter with cotton wire since 1830.
The manufacture of the lace of Lille ceased about 1870 in the city. It developed in Belgium (Beveren Wass Turnhout, Antwerp, Marche) and, especially, was intended for the French customers. We can  find this kind of lace at Tonder, Buckingham, in Italy and Russia

Lille française
Lille française

HOLLANDAISE LILLE (made in Belgium)

Laces at continuous wire.
The Netherlands appreciate lace since the XVIIIth century, the painters carry testimony from there. The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in France, causes the departure of the huguenots towards this country with their knowledge like Zacharie Chatelain d' Aurillac which installed its manufacture of gold lace in Amsterdam.The lace imports of Flandres and France are important.
Lille called Hollandaise Lille, variety called “kant Potten” appears at the XIX century. It is characterized by a decoration of vases with flowers whose form was debased during decades and of large stylized flowers. The square tally spot often decorate the clear bottom. It is a heavy lace, sometimes the point of Paris replaces, partly, the Lille bottom. This lace decorated the caps of the Dutchwomen and it is known as that one recognized the village of the numbers of flowers and their forms. In 1804, the firm Van Migem (Belgium) develops this kind of lace which inspiration of Anvers with often an inspiration cashmere with the mode about 1830.

Hollandaise Lille
Hollandaise Lille


In the XIX° century, the needlelace Belgian, called Brussels point, gauze point or needle-point, finds its specificity with a bottom or very fine network, with hexagonal meshs carried out with only one wire. This bottom, or not, is mentioned for the first time by Aubry during the exhibition of 1851. The lightness and the transparency of this bottom emphasize a great abundance of flowers: lily of the valley, jonquils, peonies, poppies, lilac, hydrangeas, iris, tulips, ombellifères. The flowers, in particular the pinks, which one finds in quantity, are characterized by double lines from petals separated and bent at their base. It is a lace entirely carried out with cotton wire. This new technique, in which the large specialist was Jenny Minne-Dransaert, was again presented during the exposure of London of 1862. On this occasion, Jenny Minne received the medal of first class. It is only towards 1870 that this technique spread. It is by a work made on the points, more or less tight, that different densities, chosen according to the sought effect, give effects of shade and light. The diversity of the openworks or “modes” is extraordinary and fills all open space left by the bouquets or strewn with flowers. Embroider give the relief necessary and follow the reasons precisely to be emphasized. The large French lace houses like Lefébure or the Company of the Indies made work the Belgian lacemakers and had even their own workshop. It is right to specify that to the low cost of the labour a remarkable quality of manufacture was added. The lace of Brussels made wonder in the ranges, the sunshades, the collars, the berthes, the rotten ones, the shawls, the wheels, the small pockets, the paddles and ratchets of the priests, etc


 (Dimensions: height 11 cm - length 84 cm)
It is in years 1853/1855 that Marie-Sophie Laure marries of Auguste Lefébure gives the name of Colbert Point to a kind of lace the needle-point pointing out the Point of Venice which it has just created in her workshops of Bayeux. It explains of it the reason “This name was adopted by recognition for the large minister, guard of lace, the points with great reliefs, with rinceaux opened out splendid flowers, with funds point lace decorated with which charm barbs, like the mistresses, supplies of Venice, had to make some in Alençon in 1665”. A few years later, Lefébure writes “This name was exploited by others, often even, for laces or very common embroideries with reliefs. But it is wise to note that it is in Bayeux, at that time, that he was employed for the first time”.

Lefébure presents the drawing of this lace n°313 under the name of Point of France, but the point of France east built with a network with meshs and not with supports. Other share, the lacemaker mentions in his presentation of the Point Colbert, the point of Venice which is built using utility supports like those of the Princely Marriage. Those are used to maintain in place the various elements of the decoration.

In this point, it is to be noticed the abundance of volutes, of small branches which tangle up inhabited by flying birds. The sheets of acanthuses are turned over in volutes and suivrent the edge with fine barbs. The precision of the silhouettes, the details and the folds of clothing are visible and accentuated by fines “embroider”, the use of the “entoilages” and of “filled” gives them clear or dark effects. The utility supports are with barbs.

Small history
To my knowledge, there are only three specimens of origin of this “Princely Marriage” saved of one departure abroad :
-  in the Museum Baron Gerard of Bayeux. This point “of France or Colbert” is framed and placed passe-partout mounting, it carries to the back of the framework the plug of the House Lefébure, the mention of Bayeux, the year and the number of the drawing. It had been bought by Mr. Carpentier then Maire of Bayeux, at his selling price to the biddings with Drouot (Paris) and had been deposited with the Museum of Bayeux - In the past presented at the House of laces and the Nickel silver Point. It had been bought for the House of laces by Mr. Doubin, Nickel silver mayor and Ministre for the Craft industry. It was sold with the biddings and it returned in the private one. It was shown during a lace exposure to Vincennes
- Exposed in this moment to Puy-in-Velay within the framework of “Royal white laces”.

Copies (unhappy) are with the Museum of Gall Saint and belonged to the sale of a collector which had already proposed it in Alençon. The business could not have been done because of the asking price for the whole of the collection. * Since the beginning, I thought that this name for this point gave him a personality it is, I believe, which occurred.

Point of France or Point of Colbert
Point of France or Point of Colbert


            The lace of Binche is mentioned for the first time in the first quarter of the XVII° century. At that time, the city was in close connection with Valencians since the two cities belonged to Hainaut. It is difficult today identify the lacemaker production of the two cities because one finds there the influence technical of Badariennes before their production does not diverge.
Bruslon Savary in its Universel dictionary of the Trade writes into 1723 that “these laces (of Binche) are equal to those of Flandres” and also of an important industry lacemaker in Hainaut.
            The lace of Binche, recognizable with its technique with continuous wire, is characterized by its bottom from snow appeared at the beginning from XVIIIè century and the extreme smoothness from its wire. The small mouchetures in the pea, diamond shapes, of stars, whose presence is important, give to this lace a very great lightness. The complexity of work is amazing, almost incredible. The lace of Binche is a lace punt without any cordonnet crimping the reasons, one finds the chechmate there and sometimes grid, volutes, flowers and foliages.
            At the end of XVIIIème, because of the price-cutting of the lace of Binche and thanks to a semi-skilled labour in the genuine silver wire, the training of the technique of the cut wire is introduced in the Binchoises lacemakers. The cut wire intervenes in the lace of Brussels with brought back parts connected by supports or the Lille funds or drochel.
In XIXè century, reasons, called figures, and the flowers are carried out separately and applied to a bottom drochel, composed of narrow bands of 3 cm, and dice its invention, on mechanical tulle. Binche was the most famous center in the clothes industry of this kind of reasons applied.

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